PRESS RELEASE: ZTE Corporation in collaboration with the Guangdong and Guangzhou Branch of China Mobile, has successfully completed the industry’s first commercial trial of a sub-6G 5G cell in Guangzhou, a major city in China.

The trial, conducted using the 4.9GHz frequency band and ZTE’s new-generation 128TR AAU, achieved a remarkable peak throughput of over 10Gbps. The results demonstrate that, on a single carrier with a bandwidth of 100MHz, the cell achieved a downlink peak rate of 10.3Gbps, which is double the maximum spectrum efficiency of the existing 5G network. The uplink peak rate reached 2.8Gbps, which is 2.4 times higher than the maximum spectrum efficiency of the current 5G network.

Over the past four years, since the advent of 5G networks, the number of 5G users has surpassed 1.2 billion, while the total mobile internet traffic and average monthly user traffic (DOU) have doubled. Continuous advancements in video applications have enhanced the quality of various services, with emerging technologies like 4K/8K high-resolution, VR/AR, and glasses-free 3D gaining prominence. The rapid growth of existing services and the introduction of new ones are placing higher demands on network capabilities. According to GlobalData, global network traffic is projected to increase by 3.5 times by 2026 compared to 2022. In densely populated urban areas, the proliferation of high-traffic services necessitates enhanced network throughput and urgent capacity upgrades.

Compared to the 2.6GHz frequency band, the 4.9GHz band experiences higher propagation and penetration losses. However, by increasing the number of antenna elements and transmission channels, the 4.9GHz band can improve its coverage and enhance indoor penetration. The new AAU, equipped with double the number of transceivers and antenna elements, significantly enhances its beamforming capabilities, resulting in improved cell capacity and coverage. Moreover, it ensures ample vertical coverage for high-rise buildings in densely populated urban areas. The 128TR AAU, combined with enhanced software algorithms, supports up to 32 streams for downlink space division and up to 24 streams for uplink space division. It achieves a maximum beamforming gain of 3 dB, thereby enhancing deep coverage in urban areas.

The introduction of ultra-large-scale MIMO technology, with more channels and antenna elements, is a key focus area for the evolution of wireless communication technologies in 5G-Advanced and 6G. Standardization organizations and enterprises are actively researching and developing this technology. One important direction in 5G-Advanced and 6G is Integrated Sensing and Communication (ISAC), which aims to integrate higher frequency bands, including 4.9GHz, in the sub-6G spectrum. The inclusion of more transceivers enhances sensing accuracy and opens up new possibilities.

China Mobile and ZTE are at the forefront of implementing the 4.9GHz 128TR AAUs, pioneering the use of ultra-large-scale MIMO technology. This advancement will have a significant impact on the network landscape, driving the emergence of high-value scenario requirements and innovative applications. One such application is ISAC technology, which has the potential to be utilized in various verticals such as low-altitude security and smart transportation.

In the future, the collaboration between China Mobile and ZTE will continue to play a crucial role in the development of network technologies. Their efforts will drive advancements in ultra-large-scale MIMO technology, enabling the realization of new and transformative applications. The integration of ISAC technology in different verticals will enhance the capabilities of wireless networks, paving the way for improved low-altitude security measures and efficient smart transportation systems.